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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:19 PM

Jean S. Harris, Killer of Scarsdale Diet Doctor, Is Dead at 89

Jean S. Harris, the private-school headmistress whose 1981 trial for the murder of a prominent Scarsdale, N.Y., physician galvanized a nation mulling feminist perspectives with its story of vengeance by an aging woman scorned, died on Sunday at an assisted-living facility in New Haven. She was 89.

Her death was confirmed by her son James.

For more than a year — from her arrest on March 10, 1980, to her sentencing for second-degree murder on March 20, 1981 — Mrs. Harris’s case was front-page news.

The trial provided the fascination of a love triangle involving the cultivated headmistress of an exclusive girls’ school, a wealthy cardiologist whose book, “The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet,” had been a best seller, and an attractive younger rival for his affection. If Mrs. Harris was to be believed, it was the story of an attempted suicide by a jilted woman that turned into the unintentional shooting of the man who had ditched her.

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/nyregion/jean-s-harris-killer-of-scarsdale-diet-doctor-dies-at-89.html?pagewanted=all

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:21 PM

1. I remember feeling sorry for her

for such an accomplished gal she just seemed so wretched and pathetic

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Response to Skittles (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:30 PM

2. I also felt very sorry for her

What in the world would make such an intelligent, well spoken, successful woman become so obsessed with someone who really treated her in a beyond off handed, disrespectful manner. I have no idea if it was an actual suicide attempt gone awry. Betty Broderick made that claim when she shot her ex-husband, and I never bought that explaination for a second. But, with Jean Harris? I'd say it might be plausible.

No matter the case, I hope her spirit is finally at rest.

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Response to Siwsan (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:21 PM

3. She did do some good after she left prison. Broderick is a sociopath.

They're two completely different personalities. Broderick decided she wasn't going to let her ex-husband have a new life with his new wife--FIVE YEARS AFTER THEY SPLIT--so she cold-bloodedly killed them. Never felt a bit of guilt over what she did and the fact she destroyed her children's lives. May she rot in prison forever.

Harris's case was more like a crime of passion than coldhearted revenge. She was rather a pathetic individual. Herman Tarnower wasn't worth it.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:51 PM

4. I am VERY familiar with the Broderick case, and I totally agree with you

I was just referring to both women offering the same explanation for the killings. Like Tanower, Dan Broderick was a total heel but you can't blame him for leaving his wife. I think both women had the same attachment issues, but definitely not the same socio-personalities. Betty Broderick definitely accomplished what she set out to do, and tried to cover it with the failed suicide excuse. I don't believe that Jean Harris ever, ever intended to kill the doctor.

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Response to Siwsan (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:24 PM

7. I don't think she did, either.

If I remember correctly, she didn't blame Tarnower for everything that had happened to her life, unlike Betty Broderick.

Betty Broderick is much more like Dana Chandler, the Kansas double-murderer, who was convicted earlier this year of her crimes.

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Response to Siwsan (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:39 AM

12. DING DING DING! Siwsan, you're our grand prize winner!

Last edited Sun Sep 7, 2014, 12:57 PM - Edit history (31)

...Both women offer(ed) the same explanation for the killings...I think both women had the same attachment issues, but definitely not the same socio-personalities...

At her trial, a psychiatrist testified that Broderick exhibited all nine symptoms of a narcissistic personality disorder (five is the minmum for a formal diagnosis). Her ego was so adverse to being dumped and replaced, she never stopped to consider the possible consequences of her actions and reactions.

I think Jean Harris' problem had more to do with her not wanting to face the fact that despite Tarnower's fame, fortune and prestige, he was NOT "a good catch." They weren't married (he had broken off their engagement), but dumping him was out of the question: It would be tantamount to admitting that she, a divorcee, had once again picked the wrong guy.

It also didn't help Broderick and Harris were replaced someone they saw as their inferiors: receptionists. That had to hurt, too -- and I still say that if Emily "Get Out Of The Way" Miller had lost her GOP VIP fiance to the owner of a manicure salon rather than a mere employee, there probably would not have been a Jack Abramoff scandal!

Yes, both Broderick and Harris claimed that they were the ones they'd intended to "punish." But that's the ultimate copout: when push came to shove, they extracted "justice" from the persons that they saw as the true "perpetrators."


rocktivity

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #3)


Response to Skittles (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:59 PM

5. I felt sorry for her too, he wasn't worth it. R-I-P Jean Harris. nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:02 PM

6. My patient, now deceased as well, was her boss/headmistress

At an exclusive pvt. School in the Philly suburbs.

Many years ago we discussed her at the time it happened, and she, the headmistress, just shook her head sadly.

I, on the other hand, do not have much truck for murderers.

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Response to PCIntern (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:04 PM

8. How was your patient her boss?

Harris was the longtime headmistress of Madeira.

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Response to cali (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:08 PM

9. No, she wasn't

She was hired on Madeira after the incumbent retired in 1977. Harris murdered Tarnower about three years later.

Barbara Keyser retired three years later, in 1977. The board of alumnae in charge of choosing a successor thought long and hard. They decided they knew exactly what they were looking for. A woman was needed with managerial skills appropriate to the modern business of education. Also, one of them says, “we wanted somebody womanly.”

There were 100 applicants. “The committee investigated in depth,” an alumna says. And Jean Struven Harris seemed perfect. The business background at Allied Maintenance. The marriage, the family. Nobody, it seems, got an adverse reading from the former schools. The Thomas School, anyway, was closed. Jean Harris was appointed headmistress of Madeira, taking a salary cut of some $10,000 a year. Things seemed rosy.


http://nymag.com/news/features/50454/index4.html

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:05 PM

16. She worked at Springside School..here inPhilly... Nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:20 PM

10. Diana Trilling wrote a wonderful book on the trial

Last edited Mon Aug 5, 2013, 02:29 PM - Edit history (1)

suggesting that despite being in withdrawal from the amphetamines Tarnower had been giving her for years, shooting him may have been the most lucid thing she ever did.




rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:35 AM

11. I'll have to look into that book. Thanks. n/t

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Response to rocktivity (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:09 PM

17. I read that book. It's good.

Fascinating story.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:41 AM

14. Mika Brezinski was just talking about her on Mornng Joe a couple of weeks ago...

Harris was headmistress when Mika attended Madeira. She made her sound like she was always a little crazy, but that could be colored considerably through hindsight...

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 07:56 PM

15. I remember, was a HUGH story, front page news at the time... Here she is:

If you're trying to remember. She's the one with the lighter hair, pictured with one of her attorneys:

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:10 PM

18. Oh how sad.

She was a very interesting lady who lived a fascinating life. I always felt very sorry for her.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:29 PM

19. My mother met her son once in CT

and told him she admired his mother (I guess for her work in prison), and he was astonished. Apparently she was an embarrassment to her family.

Before she was headmistress at the Madeira School, she worked at a private school in Rowayton, CT, where Andy Rooney's wife was a teacher at that time.

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